Drive-by-download attack exploits critical vulnerability in Windows Media Player

Web attackers are exploiting a recently patched Windows Media Player vulnerability to infect computers with malware

Security researchers from antivirus vendor Trend Micro have come across a Web-based attack that exploits a known vulnerability in Windows Media Player.

"Earlier today, we encountered a malware that exploits a recently (and publicly) disclosed vulnerability, the MIDI Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2012-0003)," Trend Micro threat response engineer Roland Dela Paz said in a blog post on Thursday.

The security flaw can be exploited by tricking the victim into opening a specially crafted MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) file in Windows Media Player.

Microsoft released a security fix for it on Jan. 10, as part of its monthly patch cycle. "An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system," the company said at the time.

The so-called drive-by-download attack identified by Trend Micro researchers uses a malicious HTML page to load the malformed MIDI file as an embedded object for the Windows Media Player browser plug-in.

If successful, the exploit downloads and executes a computer Trojan on the targeted system, which Trend Micro detects as TROJ_DLOAD.QYUA. "We're still conducting further analysis on TROJ_DLOAD.QYUA, but so far we've been seeing some serious payload, including rootkit capabilities," Dela Paz said.

It's not yet clear how victims are being tricked into visiting the malicious page, but the attack doesn't appear to target a particular organization or group of people, said David Sancho, a senior antivirus researcher at Trend Micro.

According to the researcher, the attack is not widespread at the moment, but it is possible that other attackers will start exploiting the same vulnerability in the near future. "As mentioned, this is a publicly disclosed vulnerability so we can expect similar attacks in the future," Sancho, said.

Trend Micro advises users to install the security patches described by Microsoft in its MS12-004 security bulletin. The vulnerability affects Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008, but not Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

As a general rule, users should always keep their operating systems and other software installed on their computers up to date in order to avoid becoming victims of drive-by-download attacks. Running an antivirus program capable of scanning Web content at all times is also recommended.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?